An International Food Policy Research Institute study has praised public research bodies across Africa for conducting “groundbreaking” research to produce genetically modified crops.

Its report claims that Egypt, Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe are developing GM strains with the potential not only to reduce pesticide use, but increase drought tolerance and improve nutrition.

Co-author Joel I. Cohen, IFPRI senior research fellow, said: “Corporations are often seen as the only drivers of GM foods, but… a few African countries, despite limited financial and technical resources, have vibrant public biotech research programmes.” The study identifies research into 20 different crops, including maize, sweet potato, and cowpeas.